Anarchy, Geography, Modernity: Selected Writings of Elisée by Elisée Reclus

By Elisée Reclus

The first finished advent to the idea of Elisée Reclus, the good anarchist geographer and political theorist, Anarchy, Geography, Modernity offers his groundbreaking critique of all varieties of domination: not just capitalism, the nation, and authoritarian faith, but in addition patriarchy, racism, technological domination, and the domination of nature. not just an anarchist, but additionally a thorough feminist, antiracist, ecologist, animal rights recommend, cultural radical, nudist, and vegetarian, Reclus’ rules are provided either via certain exposition and research and in huge translations of key texts, so much showing in English for the 1st time. The paintings elucidates Reclus’ maximum fulfillment, a sweeping ancient and theoretical synthesis recounting the tale of the earth and humanity as an epochal fight among freedom and domination, and his an important insights at the interrelation among own and small-group transformation, broader cultural switch, and large-scale social association also are explored.

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He believes that whether or not we carry out our ethical obligations to the natural world will have much to do with our aesthetic appreciation of it. An ugly, degraded world will not be fulfilling to human beings, while a beautiful one will contribute to our own satisfaction and selfrealization. One of his most eloquent statements of the connections among the human good, human ethical choice, and the beauty of nature is found in his History of a Mountain. He says that every people gives, so to speak, new clothing to the surrounding nature.

For Reclus, there is “a quite marked distinction between the facts of nature, which are impossible to avoid, and those which belong to an artificial world, and which one can flee or perhaps even completely ignore. The soil, the climate, the type of labor and diet, relations of kinship and marriage, the mode of grouping together, these are the primordial facts that play a part in the history of each man, as well as of each animal. ”30 In defense of the contingent nature of the institutions he associates with “secondary facts,” he observes that many earlier societies managed to exist without them.

Nevertheless, Reclus distinguishes himself among classical radical theorists by the complex nature of his conception of progress. On the most overt level, he is a strong partisan of the concept and seeks to defend it against those who would use it on behalf of injustice and oppression. He recognizes that since the French Revolution the idea of progress has often been used as an ideological justification for elitism, class domination, imperialism, and other evils. Reclus attempts to rescue the concept from those who have betrayed it in this way, but on a deeper level, he questions the idea of progress itself.

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